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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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Discussion Starter #1
So I've been gathering parts and planning on a "low buck" build of the parts truck 88 f250 I have. Its 4x4 with a 351w. Trans came out for my f350. So here's the basic plans. This will not be a street driven truck.

Swap in a c6. Was a zf5, but for rock crawling, I want an automatic. Probably do a reverse valve body and winters shifter. Unfortunately the c6 limits my crawl ratio to about 52:1, even with the gears and doubler I'm planning. My bronco is at 79:1, without a doubler.

Np203/205 doubler. Have the two already, just gotta hit up Jed's machine for his doubler kit, mainly for the shaft from a dodge 203 to a ford 205.

Dana 60 up front. Have a few laying around.
10.25 out back, that probably needs the long pinion swap done, if it's an 88 like the truck.

5.38 gears. Thinking full spools in both diffs. But I might just weld the spiders, in keeping with the low buck mentallity.

It's a Regular cab long bed, but I plan on a custom flat bed of sorts, shortened and dovetailed. The frame will probably end at the rear spring hangers. Also considering narrowing the front of the body as well.

39.5x11 boggers. Relatively cheap, due to the narrow size. Bead lock rings will be bought and welded on my wagon wheels.

Main goal for this truck is to be a trail beater. I wanna be able to thrash on it, so my bronco stays nice. As you can see, most of the money will be spent on the drivetrain, which can always be swapped to another beater if this one dies.

Obviously there will be a roll cage, and all the other offroad necessities.

The suspension is one part I'm on the fence about. Rear is easy, as any ol OBS spring will work, maybe go with Deaver J40s. But the front... lift leaf springs for the OBS trucks are few and far between. Skyjacker are like 700 for a pair. ProComp is much cheaper, but idk how they would flex. Custom from deaver would be expensive too. Then add shocks. I've read about superduty leaf springs. Much more common and cheaper. But they are longer. Which means more work, when an OBS F350 spring would bolt right in. My other thought, and maybe my favorite, is coil-overs. I found a place with king 2.0 coil-overs and springs for $500 each. I feel like this would give the best travel and flex. But would require me to fab some locating arms. Looking to do about a 4 inch lift, maybe 6.

I have access to a good steel supply, most all the required tools, and most of the know-how. Obviously I'll be spending some cash on the hard parts, but I'm not concerned about how the body looks, etc, etc. Function is the number one goal. Hence the "low buck" aspect.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Criticisms?

Oh and it WILL have a cab visor!
 

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Premium Member
84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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886 Posts
Yes to the c6. Coming from a manual transmission guy, a c6 just flat out works better in the rocks. I wouldn’t bother with the reverse valve body and winters shifter unless you already have the parts, or could get them cheaper than an auto steering column. I’ve never had a desire for mine to be anything other than a stock shifter.
I wouldn’t do welded front either, I would at least do a lock-rite or similar lunchbox locker. You should put ram assist on with 39’s, and will definitely need it with a welded front. But even with a ram, a welded front will want to push.
Locked front and rear, flex matter less than you would think. Also, for someone newer to hardcore crawling, a stiffer front is a little more stable to get a good feel for the rig in. If it were me, I’d just get cheap lift springs, or build a bastard pack for the front. I’d get the flex out of the rear for now, then maybe do links/coil overs down the road.
It’s probably worth just buying the doubler stuff for simplicity sake, but it’s very do-able to machine them yourself with some basic machine tools I think you already have...
 

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1989 Bronco XLT 351W with C6, manual locking hubs. 6” suspension lift with 35” Cooper tires
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442 Posts
Yes you should do this.
Yes you should track it all with YouTube videos.

Dirt every day did one that sounds similar except they get free parts lol. If you haven’t watched it, it may give you a few ideas? Either way I look forward to watching!


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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,318 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Yes to the c6. Coming from a manual transmission guy, a c6 just flat out works better in the rocks. I wouldn’t bother with the reverse valve body and winters shifter unless you already have the parts, or could get them cheaper than an auto steering column. I’ve never had a desire for mine to be anything other than a stock shifter.
I wouldn’t do welded front either, I would at least do a lock-rite or similar lunchbox locker. You should put ram assist on with 39’s, and will definitely need it with a welded front. But even with a ram, a welded front will want to push.
Locked front and rear, flex matter less than you would think. Also, for someone newer to hardcore crawling, a stiffer front is a little more stable to get a good feel for the rig in. If it were me, I’d just get cheap lift springs, or build a bastard pack for the front. I’d get the flex out of the rear for now, then maybe do links/coil overs down the road.
It’s probably worth just buying the doubler stuff for simplicity sake, but it’s very do-able to machine them yourself with some basic machine tools I think you already have...
Ha a column costs me 40 bucks at the JY. That would be the cheaper route. Probably the route I should take. I do come across cheaper Hurst type shifters in the JY occasionally. I really liked that style of shifter in my old bronco buggy on the c4.

Jed's machine sells the entire kit I need for the doubler for like 450 bucks. I do indeed have the machinery to do it all myself, but my mill is not functioning, making cutting splines a more costly endeavor, plus buying the right cutter (at least 100 bucks).

If I'm doing anything to the front diff, itll get a full Detroit. JBG offers a rebuild kit with the Detroit. It's the same price as aDetroit, but comes with bearings and all.

Very true on flex vs lockers. But I also own a 96 f350, and know the front springs are crazy stiff. Tell me about this bastard pack. I understand the concept, but dont know where to start. And what vehicles to scrounge from.

I will be putting a Saginaw steering pump on. I'm also used to full hydro steering, but on tractors, not vehicles. Like the whole not returning to center thing.. that's not an issue.

And yeah, I'm just passed the noob status in terms of offroading. At least when it comes to rocks.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,318 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yes you should do this.
Yes you should track it all with YouTube videos.

Dirt every day did one that sounds similar except they get free parts lol. If you haven’t watched it, it may give you a few ideas? Either way I look forward to watching!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Oh I'm doing this for sure. But making videos isnt my thing. Takes too long and I'm no computer editor!

Iv seen many episodes of dirt every day. Last night they took 3 XJs and put a lift on one, gears and lockers in the second one, and a winch and body armor on the third. The one with lockers definitely was the best overall.
 

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'96 XL EEC-V 347 E40D 1356 411 6" lift 35x12.50x15
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4,386 Posts
I agree with not doing the "Lincoln Locker" set-up,
cheap? Yes, Durable? Not so much.

Hydro assist,
might want to do your brakes w/ hydro boost too,
especially with 40" tires, you still gotta Stop some time.

Sounds like a cool project, can't wait to see it.
 

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1989 Bronco XLT 351W with C6, manual locking hubs. 6” suspension lift with 35” Cooper tires
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442 Posts
Oh I saw that one. Trying to see what was best for low budget first upgrades. They do a lot of awesome things but they make me want to buy a bunch of junk vehicles lol


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Premium Member
84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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886 Posts
A full Detroit would be good if you can spring for it. I’m about to go pull the front end apart on my fullsize, I fear the lock-rite has broken pins..... but for the money it has taken me though a lot....
If you try just going with a Saginaw pump instead of ram assist, I would pull the box and try to guesset up that pocket behind the box where the frame meets the crossmember. Me, Tyler, and Dylan all broke our frames there before we went ram assist. Haven’t had an issue since though. The ram takes a lot of stress off that area.
On the topic of steering, I would also do a tie rod flip or high steer, whatever gets you linkage level. Cause the more angle you have on the drag link, the less steering you will have. Say your drag long goes down and a 30 degree angle, then only 2/3 of your steering effort actually steers the wheels, the rest is pushing up or down. I’d try to make it work with a stock pitman arm too, Dylan did the drop pitman arm thing and twisted off 2 sector shafts
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,318 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I agree with not doing the "Lincoln Locker" set-up,
cheap? Yes, Durable? Not so much.

Hydro assist,
might want to do your brakes w/ hydro boost too,
especially with 40" tires, you still gotta Stop some time.

Sounds like a cool project, can't wait to see it.
When I weld, I weld. It's done 110% and way overdone haha. But yeah, a spool in the rear would be better.

I forgot, I do have a Hydroboost unit off an 88 F-Superduty that I'll be using too. With the Saginaw, I should have no issues doing the HB and ram assist.
 
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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,318 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
A full Detroit would be good if you can spring for it. I’m about to go pull the front end apart on my fullsize, I fear the lock-rite has broken pins..... but for the money it has taken me though a lot....
If you try just going with a Saginaw pump instead of ram assist, I would pull the box and try to guesset up that pocket behind the box where the frame meets the crossmember. Me, Tyler, and Dylan all broke our frames there before we went ram assist. Haven’t had an issue since though. The ram takes a lot of stress off that area.
On the topic of steering, I would also do a tie rod flip or high steer, whatever gets you linkage level. Cause the more angle you have on the drag link, the less steering you will have. Say your drag long goes down and a 30 degree angle, then only 2/3 of your steering effort actually steers the wheels, the rest is pushing up or down. I’d try to make it work with a stock pitman arm too, Dylan did the drop pitman arm thing and twisted off 2 sector shafts
Good point on the drop pitman arm. Too much side load. I think I'll take you up on the ram assist idea too.

I'll be reinforcing the frame in areas, like the steering gear, track bar, front an rear framehorns, etc. Bumpers will be beefy. But thin for approach and departure angles.

Your bronco is kinda the inspiration for my build
 

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Premium Member
84 Bronco, 351w, c6, custom doubler, np208, 5.13’s, TTB44, 9”, locked f/r
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886 Posts
Thanks, I appreciate that haha. On the bastard pack, start with the softest main spring you can get the right length. I don’t even know front spring length on an OBS truck, everything I’ve owned that body style is coil spring. The ttb springs it has now are the stiffest spring you could get, so pretty useless to start with.
Do you have a press? You can arch springs with a press. Kinda sketchy and you might break one in the press, but I’ve done it. Then as you go shorter in the pack I would go more and more arch on each leaf, should make a nice progressive pack
 

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On my 1991 f350 IDI 4x4, I did the reverse shackle kit up front with the Excursion springs—V code I think? Was prepared for sticker shock buying new springs from Ford, but they were VERY reasonable.

Wheeling with an auto is easier, but you have to monitor the temps and keep it cool on the long climbs. Not an issue with a manual trans.


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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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12,318 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I do have a 20 ton press at home and a 60 ton at work.

Yeah, the current springs on the f250 have a negative arch! Most did, even from the factory on the D50/44HD. Mine is a 44HD currently, with a d50 chunk.

The leaves on my f350 are 52" from the centers of the eyelets, at ride height. It has just 2 leaves, and I want probably 5? But only if they are thinner. My superduty is coils, so I cant check on that.
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
Joined
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12,318 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
On my 1991 f350 IDI 4x4, I did the reverse shackle kit up front with the Excursion springs—V code I think? Was prepared for sticker shock buying new springs from Ford, but they were VERY reasonable.

Wheeling with an auto is easier, but you have to monitor the temps and keep it cool on the long climbs. Not an issue with a manual trans.


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Did you do the sky kit or the other one, RSK, I think? How do the excursion leaves ride and flex? My pops had an 04 superduty, and it rode pretty well for a leaf spring solid axle.

I can wheel with a standard trans, as that's what my bronco is. But only needing two feet seems like it would be more relaxing. And I can scrounge with the best of em at the junkyards, so a cooler is no issue.

Also,
I even have a C6 already, out of my 96 f350. But it needs a new case. So getting one at the JY, I can swap my guts and know it's probably good. Probably should just have it rebuilt, as it's at 150k, with 80k miles of municipal snowplow work. But it always worked good for me.
 

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Did you do the sky kit or the other one, RSK, I think? How do the excursion leaves ride and flex? My pops had an 04 superduty, and it rode pretty well for a leaf spring solid axle.

I can wheel with a standard trans, as that's what my bronco is. But only needing two feet seems like it would be more relaxing. And I can scrounge with the best of em at the junkyards, so a cooler is no issue.

Also,
I even have a C6 already, out of my 96 f350. But it needs a new case. So getting one at the JY, I can swap my guts and know it's probably good. Probably should just have it rebuilt, as it's at 150k, with 80k miles of municipal snowplow work. But it always worked good for me.

Sky kit for the pre-92 trucks—pretty sure at the time, SKY was the only kit for 1991. Definitely a better ride, but it’s more of an expedition rig than a crawler with an Ambo box on the back.


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Travel limit at time of install was the fender. Now cut—need to get back on the ramp.


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1986 Ford Bronco, 351w with edelbrock aluminum top end and holly 600.
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2,286 Posts
If I was building a 100% trail rig

Longer springs will give you more flex - i'd look for long and flat and cut the fender to fit big tires - just looking for droop to reach out and grab.

I wouldn't fully lock the front - i'd work to get good flex - turning locked is a bear and hard on the rigging

Id weld the back until it breaks then ?

you could consider air bags to control flex/flop if it got too flexy - don't laugh i've seen it done and it works

i'd consider tera flex shackles for more droop - they also make the rotators

I'' a stick fan, I don't like all the wooshyness of autos but I will agree they do better in the rocks - its hard to beat hydraulics - unless you are 100:1 or more crawl then your wheel speed starts to be so slow its almost not possible to spin them

How low of an R&P can you fit in those axles? What do you think your max speed will be?

Sounds fun - looking forward to watching
 

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Addicted to Junk
85 Bronco, 309ci I6 w/4bbl, np435, 4" lift, 37" Irok NDs, 4.56 w/ Detroit Locker and tru trac
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12,318 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
If I was building a 100% trail rig

Longer springs will give you more flex - i'd look for long and flat and cut the fender to fit big tires - just looking for droop to reach out and grab.

I wouldn't fully lock the front - i'd work to get good flex - turning locked is a bear and hard on the rigging

Id weld the back until it breaks then ?

you could consider air bags to control flex/flop if it got too flexy - don't laugh i've seen it done and it works

i'd consider tera flex shackles for more droop - they also make the rotators

I'' a stick fan, I don't like all the wooshyness of autos but I will agree they do better in the rocks - its hard to beat hydraulics - unless you are 100:1 or more crawl then your wheel speed starts to be so slow its almost not possible to spin them

How low of an R&P can you fit in those axles? What do you think your max speed will be?

Sounds fun - looking forward to watching
Dont get me wrong, I'm a standard trans kinda guy. But it's not as fun in the rocks.

My bronco has a trutrac up front. I wont be without some form of traction aid up front. But it seems the Lincoln Lock wont be the route I take.

I've seen the teraflex shackles. They are impressive. Might try making similar of my own, as they are pricey iirc. Maybe I should just source four superduty springs, for the extra length. I'll be hoping for a height of a bronco on a 6" lift. Which isnt much different than my stock 96 f350. Then yeah, out comes the saw to cut fenders.

5.38 is as low as I can find for both axles. No clue on top speed, but should be fairly high. With 37s and 4.56 gears in my bronco, with an np435, I can hit 90mph.
 

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ate lug
88 + 96 broncos, 96 F250
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8,536 Posts
I dont know of the teraflex shackles will hold up under the weight of a fullsize rig, but they might.


SD front leafs are pretty nice if you get the right ones. The X-code are the heavy plow spring, but the V codes im told are pretty plush. Ive heard of U codes too, i think those are excursion and are supposed to be pretty damn soft.

The 50:1 with the C6 will be just fine for crawling.
 
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